The infighting in the Delhi unit of the BJP has now come out in the open after Manoj Tiwari reportedly served notices to those newly elected councillors, who attended a function organised by Vijay Goel.
According to reports, Goel had thrown a party on 16 May inviting all the newly elected councillors of the MCD. Tiwari too was invited but he reportedly turned down the invitation. Tiwari also asked other clouncillors not to attend since this wasn’t a ‘party function.
As many as 30-40 councillors including Jai Prakash, Shikha Rai and Nandini Sharma, went ahead and attended the function organised by Goel. This left Tiwari visibly irked prompting him to demand explanation from them.
Earlier on Saturday, the BJP had put on hold the names of its councillors who were to be appointed as leaders of House in three municipal corporations, owing to the ‘cold war’ between Delhi BJP chief Tiwari and Union Sports Minister Goel.
The three BJP councillors who were considered for the posts of leaders of House in South, North and East Delhi Municipal Corporations have been ‘punished’ for attending a felicitation function hosted by Goel on May 16, a senior party leader said.
“Shikha Rai (SDMC), Jai Prakash (NDMC) and Santosh Pal (EDMC) were considered for the posts of leaders of House but the party has put on hold their names as they attended Goel’s function despite being instructed to avoid it,” he said.
Tiwari was also invited to the function but he chose to give it a miss, while around 40-50 councillors took part in it. With the BJP’s massive victory in the MCD polls in April, the party leaders are now focusing on the next Assembly elections. This has led to a competition between Goel and Tiwari for the post of chief minister, sources said.
“Goel being an old-timer well embedded in Delhi politics is asserting himself as Tiwari has pulled off a stunning victory in the MCD polls barely six months after being appointed as the Delhi unit chief,” a source said.
Goel said he is not engaged in a ‘tussle’ with anyone and the function he hosted was part of a ‘slum movement’ to promote sports among the youth. “I do not know what people are talking of but the function was held by my ministry to engage Nehru Yuva Kendra youths in our slum movement. I have no tussle with anyone,” the Youth Affairs and Sports minister said.
The Delhi BJP denied claims that the three councillors’ names were withdrawn as a punishment for attending Goel’s function.
“The BJP has announced Shikha Rai’s name as the Leader of House in SDMC and we stand by it. No names were announced for the posts of leaders of House in North and East corporations,” said Delhi BJP media in-charge Pravin Shankar Kapoor. Tiwari was not available for comments on the issue.
(With PTI inputs)